How Often Do You Actually Need to Work Out to Maintain Fitness?

We’re huge advocates of hitting the gym regularly - after all, what better way to get stronger, faster, fitter and healthier?

But we totally get it, sometimes, life just gets in the way. Everyone has periods where they just don’t have much time to workout - whether it’s a busy time at work, you’re going away on a holiday, or you’re injured, it happens.

So in these times, the question is: how often do you actually need to workout just to maintain your fitness?

The answer might surprise you…

When you’re aiming to maintain physical performance, rather than improve your fitness, as little as two sessions per week, of between 13-26 minutes per session, is enough to maintain your endurance performance for up to 15 weeks, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

However there is a catch… During those two sessions, exercise intensity (or your heart rate when exercising) has to be maintained at your normal training level. So if you’re used to smashing out a HIIT session, to maintain your ability to do so for 15 weeks, you’ll need to get your heart pumping just as hard, only for shorter, fewer sessions.

When it comes to maintaining your strength and muscles (we don’t want to lose those gains), studies show young people can maintain their strength for 32 weeks doing just 1 strength session per week, as long as you’re lifting the same size load - aka, again maintaining your usual training intensity. Older people may require two strength sessions a week to preserve strength.

So the verdict is in: you can actually keep your optimal fitness level for a long time doing minimal training - as long as you keep the intensity of your sessions the same when you do have a chance to workout!

That’s right, intensity is key!

So next time you have to take a break from your fit fam, don’t panic! You don’t have to kiss goodbye to the results you’ve worked so hard for after all.